From the editors: This piece is a collaboration, with thanks to Christine McFarlane, deb singh, and YOU! In the next section of this post is a timeline of major events in the Idle No More movement. This crowd-sourced timeline is just getting started and needs your contributions. Please click here to go to the open Google Document and add your photos, links, videos and pieces of information. Check back often as more information is added!
The Idle No More Movement began with four women: Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean. It has evolved into a movement that has spread across Canada and the international stage.
Idle No More began in early October when Bill C-45 was being discussed. Its focus is on grassroots voices, treaty rights and sovereignty. Bill C-45 is a 457-page omnibus budget legislation bill (also known as the Jobs and Growth Act) that will make changes to several Canadian laws and enactments that include the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Navigable Waters Act.
For First Nations people, the passing of Bill C-45 eliminates treaty rights. It will allow First Nations to lease out/surrender reserve lands based on votes taken at a single meeting, rather than a majority vote from an entire first nation (aka. community consent). It also exempts companies behind major pipeline and inter-provincial power line projects from needing to prove that they won’t damage or destroy navigable waterways in Canada.
Exempting companies from accountability is not only dangerous to First Nations people and their ability to continue a traditional lifestyle of hunting, trapping and fishing, but it will also affect Canada’s waterways and put our water and environment in danger for us and the seven generations behind us.
The Idle No More Movement is about everyone fighting for his or her rights. It is about standing together and righting the wrongs that the Canadian government has put upon us all through their legislative and colonialist practices.
We need to stand up to our Prime Minister Stephen Harper and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Idle No More has swept the globe as an international protest for the rights of Indigeous peoples. More than that it is not a new phenomena of resistance of Indigenous folks and their allies, but a move to talk about many issues including opposition to Bill C-45, treaties (and the rights that were suppose to be attached to them), housing, education, poverty and environmental racism.
So many talented writers and activists have written about the Idle No More movement, so check out this list of videos, articles and blogs!
[* a Treaty is an agreement between colonizers (those who came to the land of Canada, now considered Canadian government officials) and Indigenous peoples to the land colonizers/settlers were on. Most treaties were outlined to promise/make an agreement with Indigenous peoples for sharing of resources, land and friendship and peace). Almost no treaty has been followed through by Canadian government officials.]
Idle No More is a co-ordinated, strategic movement, not led by any elected politician, national chief or paid executive director. It is a movement originally led by indigenous women and has been joined by grassroots First Nations leaders, Canadians, and now the world. It originally started as a way to oppose Bill C-45, the omnibus legislation impacting water rights and land rights under the Indian Act; it grew to include all the legislation and the corresponding funding cuts to First Nations political organizations meant to silence our advocacy voice. - Why we are Idle No More, Pamela Palmater, Ottawa Citizen, December 28, 2012
Pamela is the chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University and an Indigenous activist with Idle No More.
In her most recent piece, Blatchford has the audacity to refer to Chief Spence’s action as “one of intimidation, if not terrorism.” I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to surface the hidden tension that is already alive.” Blatchford provokes further, “there is I think a genuine question as to whether there’s enough of Aboriginal Culture that has survived.” Wrong, Blatchford. Indigenous peoples, cultures and nations have survived and thrived despite genocide — despite a long, shameful and racist history of residential schools, forced sterilization, small pox and germ warfare, the breaking of treaties, legislative control including through the Gradual Civilization Act and the Indian Act, forced dispossession from lands and relocation to reservations, outlawing of ceremonies such as the potlatch and traditional activities such as fishing and hunting, and much more.
- Debunking Blatchford and other anti-Native ideologues on Idle No More, Harsha Walia, rabble.ca December 30, 2012
Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) is a South Asian writer and activist based on Vancouver, unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh territories. She is involved in anti-racist, migrant justice, feminist, anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements and has been active in Indigenous solidarity for over a decade.
THUNDER BAY – “There was a woman, who was taken by two non-native guys, raped and left for dead,” stated Chief Peter Collins, the Chief of Fort William First Nation. Collins says “It is a hate crime against our community”.
In a media statement issued today, Idle No More states, “On Thursday evening Angela Smith (not her real name to protect her identity) was walking to a store in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Two Caucasian men pulled their car up along side her as she walked on the sidewalk and began issuing racial slurs while throwing items at her from the car. When she continued to walk, the car stopped and the passenger of the vehicle got out of the car and grabbed the woman by her hair and forced her into the back of the car
where she was held her down in the back seat by one of them and driven out of the city.
- Be Vigilant, Travel Together, and Be Safe – Idle No More Thunder Bay, James Murray, December 30, 2012.
Check out some stats on the use of the #IdleNoMore hastag by the Globe and Mail:
Finally, some videos on many actions happening concerning Idle No More:
Her name is Ta’Kaiya Blaney, she is 11 years old, she will steal your heart away - Idle No More protest and march, December 29, 2010, Simms Park, Courtenay B.C. Video: Billie Harlow
Short film on reactions on Idle No More protests (15 mins) Directed by Gabriel Constant, Co-directed by Neil Bigneill
On January 2, 2013, hundreds of First Nations and non-indigenous people converged on Vancouver’s Waterfront Station for the latest Idle No More rally.
A round dance flash mob at West Edmonton Mall for Idle No More on December 18, 2012
Adrienne Arsenault (CTV News) reports on a national First Nations protest movement that’s building social media support across the country. Protesters say Bill C-45 violates First Nations’ treaty rights.